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Teaching and Learning

The Coulter Faculty Commons exists to support a campus community centered on excellence in teaching and learning.  We provide a wide variety of services to support teaching and learning, including consultations, assessments, workshops, publications, and more.  These services are available to Western Carolina University faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Teaching and Learning Services


All consultations and services are voluntary, confidential and are conducted with high professional standards. Consultation topics include, but are not limited to, the following or click here to Learn More

  • Active learning
  • Course analysis
  • Course Design
  • Civil Discourse in the Classroom
  • Classroom Management
  • Faculty time management
  • Large classes (transitioning to, strategies for making large classes feel smaller)
  • Online Teaching and Learning
  • Rubric development and utilization
  • Quality Matters
  • Syllabus and schedule construction
  • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning projects
  • Student Learning Outcome (SLO) writing and alignment
  • Team-Based Learning (and other forms of problem-based learning designs)
  • Test construction
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Consultations may also cover work-life balance and other issues related to faculty support.  To request any of these services, please contact the Coulter Faculty Commons, or visit our offices in Hunter Library.


The two main types of assessment at WCU are Course Assessment and Program Assessment. Course Assessment evaluates the effectiveness of instruction whereas Program Assessment evaluates if a program serves its intended purpose. Making better use of assessment data improves the value of any course or program in the following ways:

  • Stronger course design
  • Thorough analysis of assessment data
  • Effective education about assessment tools
  • Improved program clarification
  • Better understanding of assessment processes
  • Increased usability of assessment results  

Academic Integrity Support

Honesty is an important part of the education process and needs to be maintained to make college worth more than a degree alone. WCU created the Academic Integrity Policy to uphold this standard, focusing on four main offenses that threaten the quality of student education:

Cheating - The use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information, or study aides in any academic exercise

Plagiarism - Representing the words or ideas of someone else in one’s own academic work without proper citations

Fabrication - Creating or falsifying information or citations

Facilitation - Helping or attempting to help the commission of a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy

Learn More About our Academic Integrity Support

Small Group Analysis

Small Group Analysis is a method used to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching strategies in order to help instructors improve their techniques and offer better educational experiences. This exercise provides the instructor with constructive feedback from students by keeping the suggestions anonymous and encouraging free communication by eliminating the pressure of direct confrontation.

Five Simple Steps to Complete:

  1. Instructors submit requests to schedule a date and time with an Educational Developer in the Faculty Commons.
  2. The Instructor and Educational Developer member meet to determine the purpose of the SGA.
  3. The Educational Developer attends arranged class period and takes 30 minutes without the instructor present to obtain student feedback.
  4. The Faculty Commons staff member formulates the summaries into a report explaining the student feedback.
  5. The CFC staff member and the Instructor have a final consultation discussing the report and possible next steps.

Advantages to benefit long-term improvement:

  • The anonymous nature makes students more comfortable sharing their feedback.
  • The student feedback tells instructors which elements of their teaching methods are effective or could be more effective.
  • Research indicates this method is highly effective (Hurney, C., Harris, N., Bates Prins, S., & Kruck, S. E. (2014). The Impact of a Learner-Centered, Mid-Semester Course Evaluation on Students. The Journal of Faculty Development28(3), 55-62.

Additional Resources


Trying to write your syllabus? Explore our tools and templates to help you fulfill all the elements needed. Syllabus Resources

Other Resources

Other Publications and Resources

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